Wind power industry could decay without a regulatory framework for renewables

“The industry will not collapse but it will decay from an innovation perspective without a new regulatory framework,” warned Vice-President – Renewables of GE Energy, Victor Abate at a CEO vision panel on ‘after 2020’.

Other panellists agreed that predictability and stability were necessary to ensure investments in the European wind energy sector.

The 2020 renewable energy target has encouraged huge growth in the industry in Europe, they said.“Increasingly regions are saying ‘we’re going to win tomorrow’s game by developing technology at home and selling it to the world,’” said Christian Kjaer, EWEA’s CEO.

He also pointed out that: “Wind energy received just 1% of total OECD total energy research funds for many years. Now it can produce electricity at 5 to 8 cents per KWh, just like coal or gas. It must be the best return on investment ever made.”

However, without a renewed policy – such as binding renewable energy targets for 2030 – growth could move away from Europe, panellists agreed.“

The US market has halved since 2008. In 2012 there’s no US policy to drive investments and you’re seeing the results”, said Abate. He also warned that this needs to be done well in advance.“You can’t go to bed Monday and wake up on Tuesday with a new framework; that takes financial markets years to figure out.”

Discussion also touched on the recent oil crisis triggered by the unrest in Libya and the Middle East, and the dangers of nuclear shown up by Japan’s ongoing tragedy.Jorge Calvet, CEO of Gamesa said: “Renewables give Europe security in the energy supply. We have seen recently what can happen to supplies of fossil fuels.”

“We took advantage of the energy resources of these countries under sometimes tyrannical regimes,” warned MEP Anni Podimata, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Energy Committee.

By Sarah Azau,